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When 11-year-old Ari and her older brother Gage, who have been orphaned, leave their guardian, they become homeless. Ari finds comfort in playing with her Paper Things—pictures of people and things she’s cut out of magazines—imagining that she has a real family and a home of her own.

Ari’s stress intensifies under the weight of uncertainty about where to sleep each night, exhaustion, losing her belongings as she moves from place to place, personal hygiene issues, incomplete homework assignments, and more. She copes by trying to be “invisible.” Despite Ari and Gage’s troubles, kind people help them out and eventually they find home once again.

This juvenile novel, which contains a few instances of profanity, reveals the harsh realities of homelessness. It also introduces readers to the role of social services, which attempt to mitigate and alleviate it. Ages 10 and up. (Candlewick)

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